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NIH takes step to assess any possible risk associated with low-dose radiation exposure
Date:2/1/2010

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center are incorporating radiation dose exposure reports into the electronic medical record, an effort that they hope will lead to an accurate assessment of whether any cancer risk is associated with low-dose radiation exposure from medical imaging tests, according to an article in the February issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR). The electronic medical record allows for the storage, retrieval, and manipulation of one's medical records.

There is much controversy surrounding diagnostic medical radiation exposure. "One widely publicized appraisal of medical radiation exposure suggested that about 1.5 to 2 percent of all cancers in the USA might be caused by the clinical use of CT alone," said David A. Bluemke, MD, lead author of the article and director of Radiology and Imaging Sciences at the NIH Clinical Center. "Since there is no epidemiologic data directly relating CT scanning to cancer deaths, scientific assessment must instead rely on the relationship between radiation exposure and death rates from Japanese atomic bomb survivors. While the legitimacy of this approach remains debated, radiologists as well as clinicians may rightfully be confused by the ongoing controversy. Patients seeking medical help may legitimately question the rationale of, and any risks from, diagnostic radiology tests," said Bluemke.

Radiology and nuclear medicine at the NIH Clinical Center have developed a radiation reporting policy that will be instituted in cooperation with major equipment vendors, beginning with exposures from CT and PET/CT. "All vendors who sell imaging equipment to Radiology and Imaging Sciences at the NIH Clinical Center will be required to provide a routine means for radiation dose exposure to be recorded in the electronic medical record. This requirement will allow cataloging of radiation exposures from these medical tests," said Blue
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Contact: Heather Curry
hcurry@acr-arrs.org
703-390-9822
American College of Radiology / American Roentgen Ray Society
Source:Eurekalert

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